The Scratch Patch



I love the scratch patch! Millions of tumbled semi-precious stones waiting to be looked for, pounced on, turned over, held up, squinted at, admired and stowed in a tin for purchase and for use at some later stage when the desire to create overwhelms me. Look at this one! It’s colours are subtle, muted, blended to perfection by a skilful Creator. Ooh! Look at this one! Each one is more fascinating, inviting, sending the imagination into a frenzy of “What can I do with this one? How can I use that one?”

The scratch patch is relaxing, therapeutic, soothing. I can sit among the gems and forget my troubles. Every stone begs for attention. “Look at me.  No, look at me.” Such an array of shapes, contours and edges, patterns and colours stirs the imagination with excitement and anticipation. Hours of pure pleasure pass unnoticed. Ideas fizz and pop inside my brain as my collection grows. At last my tin is full of stones, just the right shape and colour for everything I might want to do with them.

The scratch patch reminds me of words, an array to choose from, firing the imagination with mental pictures as vivid as the shapes and colours of the stones in the scratch patch . I communicate with words. I build or break down bridges between myself and others with words. I search for words as I search for stones. My mind becomes the ‘scratch patch’, picking up a word here, turning it over, fingering its shape, admiring its nuances, questioning its meaning, “Does it fit here? Does it express my thought to perfection?”

A sentence is like a precious gem. Nouns, verbs, adjectives – each word giving shape and colour to a thought. Hang the thoughts on a string and an idea forms, a blend of beauty and symmetry like a necklace of sparkling jewels, a gift to someone who needs help.

Words can do far more than their individual meaning. They have power to hurt or heal, power to build or destroy, power to lead into truth and hope or into error and despair.

Therefore, I must continually ask the question, “What shall I do with my words?” As I choose my stones and create a necklace to adorn the neck of someone I love, let me also choose from my ‘scratch patch’ of words those which will adorn my tongue with beauty, peace and life as a choice gift to my neighbour.

Have you read my new book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (copyright 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

Available on in paperback, e-book or kindle version or order directly from the publisher at



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